Pompey boss: Fortified defence can boost promotion bid

Kenny Jackett is convinced Pompey's reinforced defensive fortitude can propel them into a promotion challenge.

Wednesday, 8th August 2018, 6:29 pm
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 5:26 pm
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Andrew Fosker

The Blues boss has identified the necessity for bolstering his team's back line to secure an improved placing.

Last season they shipped 56 goals during an eighth-place finish '“ almost double the tally conceded by League One title-winners Wigan.

Goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray and Lee Brown has been recruited to add more steel to Pompey's rearguard, while Tom Naylor will anchor the midfield.

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Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Andrew Fosker

For last weekend's season-opener, the Blues produced a brilliant defensive display in a 1-0 win over Luton.

And Jackett is anticipating more steely performances this term.

He said: '˜We were just outside the play-offs for the majority of the season last year and finishing eighth was just about right for us.

'˜We are looking to try to go one better if we can and defence is one area we can improve on.

'˜Obviously, on Saturday using possession constructively was another aspect which must be looked at, but similarly you do need the qualities we showed in defence.

'˜We have the ability to defend like we did, putting your body on the line and never giving up.

'˜We certainly hope we are in a situation which can do better than 20 league defeats in a season, that's one of the targets we feel we can improve on from last year.

'˜No disrespect to Alex Bass, but we've probably some better competition with Craig (MacGillivray) coming in to compete with Luke McGee. I am confident in both goalkeepers.

'˜I also think Lee Brown has brought in some experience which we've needed, with more than 350 games for a left-back.

'˜But also we have two 21-year-old centre-halves who are a year older and more experienced, which helps.

'˜Then if you throw in the likes of Nathan Thompson and Christian Burgess, hopefully that can produce a resolute defence for the season.'

Thompson is struggling for Saturday's trip to Blackpool with a knee injury.

Burgess replaced him at right-back for the final 19 minutes against the Hatters, also playing his part in victory.

Jackett added: '˜It was between Matt Clarke and Jack Whatmough for man of the match.

'˜They are young '“ and I am a Burgess fan as well, he's a good player.

'˜With the three of them, if we can keep them fit and available we are quite well covered for that position.'